Walking & Thinking #6

We often stop to think, contemplate, plan about and for our child’s future. But do we do the same for the future of others from the standpoint of how our children will affect them, affect the rest of the world? If not, why not?

I remember being bullied as a kid by a jerk down the street for years — he was such a mean kid, by “mean girls” in my neighborhood, and by some in school who just didn’t like the way I looked or who my friends were. I struggle to believe that their parents didn’t know how mean and even abusive some were, and I often wonder how some of them are now as adults. In the workplace I would imagine which employees and managers had been bullied as kids or were the bullies. We see and hear about abusive relationships with spouses, with children, even with elderly parents. I can recall even a few teachers that definitely were. Can you imagine — the people responsible for educating our children? We don’t like to talk about it. We don’t like to ask about it or get involved. Sometimes we even shame the victim (another abuse). We even deny it when we’re the one with the personality problem (so it continues). We don’t want to admit when it’s an issue in our families or how we might be affected by it. So, when does it STOP? Where does it END? No type of abuse is acceptable, or so we like to say. Verbal, sexual, physical, and even schoolyard bullying — all types are VIOLENCE.

When does one finally look at it honestly and squarely and say, “THIS ENDS WITH ME RIGHT NOW?” We don’t have to be the abuser, necessarily, to change it and turn it around. You know how some of us like to pretend that there’s nothing wrong in our family dynamics. We might have responsibility because we know it’s happening. Yes, if we know, we are responsible. And if you are the abuser — how miserable you must be stuck in that way. Don’t you want more for yourself, for your kids, for others that you affect?

The saying goes, “Hurt people hurt people.” I prefer, “Miserable people make other miserable people who turn around and make other people miserable.”

The Space You Create / Stop Setting Fires

It just occurred to me today, while reading some articles about different kinds of domestic abuse, that the response and behavioral changes by the abused seem to be the things that invite more abuse. The abuser doesn’t like what you have become after being abused, so then that becomes a reason for more abuse, anger, hostility, and now resentment, too.  Abusers don’t seem able to see their part in the victim’s behavior and become incensed when it is brought to their attention.  The victim’s behavior isn’t likely to become healthier while continuing in that environment, and so the abuser’s attitude also becomes worse. The cycle of the behavior of an abuser and victim, and how the victim becomes more victimized as they suffer from the fallout of abuse is only a testament to the repetition and space that is created by the abuser. 

What a cycle.

We all have to be responsible for our actions. But if you are going to be the creator of a  hostile environment, it is up to you to clean it up if you don’t want hostilities to linger and grow. You can’t ignore the pain you inflict, the mess you create and leave behind, and expect it to repair itself – and especially if you repeatedly set the fire. You can’t blame the person/s you are abusing for not cleaning up the catastrophe. As a matter of fact, they can’t. If you light your house on fire, you can’t blame the smoke and the ash for the mess.

Bottom line is this: If you set the fire, it is up to you to bring the water and the balm. If you don’t want the smoke and ash to linger, then it is your responsibility to cease setting fires. The other person can do whatever they do – leave, stay, apologize, argue, cry, take responsibility for your blow-up – doesn’t matter. You will still be the same fire-starter. And you will do it again – to that person or the next.

Nothing good can survive in that mess. If it doesn’t all burn up in the fire, the smoke and ash will eventually suffocate anything left.